December 2006

UVA’s Volume on YouTube

by Andy Polaine on December 18, 2006

I wrote a little while back about UnitedVisualArtists’ new work, Volume, that is being shown at the V&A at the moment. Joel from UVA sent me a mail to say they have uploaded a clip on YouTube (the one here), as well as some videos of their other work.

There’s also a higher quality MP4 version on the UVA site if you would like to see it in all its glory.

UPDATE: 24.12.2006 I managed to go and see Volume at the V&A whilst I was in London this week. So, I can confirm that the sound on the video is the audio that is being played by the installation, but I’m not sure it’s the live recording on the video.

It is reactive, more than interactive. You can definitely tell that you are affecting the installation in some way – mainly by bringing ‘dormant’ poles into life. I think I would have like to have had a bit more interaction, but I don’t think it would work so well in this particular installation. The reason is that I think a cacophony would be possible and this piece is all about mystery and beauty.

The main strength of it (apart from the very high production levels) is the slightly alien, mysterious feeling it evokes. As you can see in the video, some people stand and watch, others walk up to the poles and stand very close, looking at them intently, stroking them. Others walk through the ‘forest’ of poles and it does make for a strange social connection. I stood in one corner and watched the people for a while too – it felt very much like a scene from Close Encounters or watching the apes in 2001 encounter the monolith. It is very mesmerising and I could have stayed much longer just looking at the people.


The Power of Red Buttons

by Andy Polaine on December 17, 2006

in General

Having just mistyped a domain name and been sent to one of those really irritating ‘parked domain’ search pages, I saw this pop-up.

The Fart Button Pop-Up

Normally, I wouldn’t click on anything screaming out “spyware, click me!”. But look at it. A nice shiny red button that promises a fart gag. An invitation to play if ever there was one.

I couldn’t resist. Of course it took me to a site that wanted to download some kind of nasty .exe file (I like being on a Mac). No danger for me, then, but one of the best junk pop-ups I have seen for a while. There’s got to be a lesson in interactivity and marketing there. Somewhere. Or am I just really juvenile?


Low tech accidents

December 13, 2006

Whilst looking through some old archives of work (and also the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive) I re-found a gif that I made for my very first website. I remember wanting to create something quite different and I rendered this out (of After Effects of all things) by accident.

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The Omnium Blog

December 13, 2006

I’ve written before about my work with the Omnium Project and the Omnium Creative Network, but it has been needing another home…

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UVA’s Volume at the V&A

December 7, 2006

A bit of cross-posting from my Bauhaus blog here, but worth it: Chris O’Shea over at Pixelsumo has written up a good description of a new work, Volume, by United Visual Artists and onepointsix. Volume responds to human movement and creates and audio-visual environment from the pillars installed in the V&A‘s John Madjeski garden. Go […]

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Analogue In, Digital Out

December 7, 2006

I just read Brendan Dawes’s new book, Analogue In, Digital Out, in one day. A day when I was teaching all day too. I even stayed up late to finish it. It’s not often that happens.

His approach is very much about diving in, pulling things apart, connecting things together and seeing what happens. Kind of a Jamie Oliver of interaction design…

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